When the defendant is the victim herself

Rasha, a Syrian citizen escaped from Syria due to the security situation that threatens Syria continuously since the outbreak of the crisis. After her escape she sought refuge in Jordan alongside her family in search of safety and  a decent life. After suffering and a long search, Rasha rented a home to settle in with her children located in the Marka neighborhood in the city of Amman. However, unfortunately the home that she rented caught on fire and everything she had was lost. But her misfortune didn’t stop here, the aftermath of the fire led to many problems. The owner of the house blamed Rasha for the fire all while demanding one thousand Jordanian dinars as compensation for the damage caused to the house by the fire. The landlord also filed a complaint with the police station accusing Rasha of initiating the fire. Rasha resorted to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee) to solve her problem, and at that point they transferred her to ARDD-Legal Aid.

Rasha stated about her case: “I left my house the day of the fire at 9:00 in the morning because I had a meeting with the family protection unit, the police station then called me and asked me to follow up with them, so I went to the police station and shockingly they arrested me for burning the house that I live in! The owner of the home accused me of doing so and unfortunately, the investigator deemed her account of the story factual, and directly accused me by saying, ‘You are the one who burned the house’.” Rasha  condemned what happened to her saying, “This is my home, where all my stuff is stored, my clothes, my children’s clothes, How is it possible for me to burn the house with all of my belongings?”

Basam AlDmour, a lawyer at ARDD-Legal Aid said, “The house caught on fire for an unknown reason according to the firefighters, but the relationship between the home owner and Rasha was  tense apparently making the resolution of the problem amicably,  difficult. I have tried to intervene to solve the problem and found that the home owner claimed that the house was rented to Rasha with furniture included for an inexpensive price as a way of helping Rasha. Furthermore the homeowner claimed that she received bad treatment from Rasha in addition to never receiving the rent on the agreed time. It seemed to me that the homeowner resorted to complaining to police officers in order to intimidate and pressure Rasha to leave the house and sign a promissory note in the amount of one thousand dinars. On the other hand, Rasha was very scared and wanted to get out of this problem that is causing her insomnia and panicking her children that accompany her to the police station. Rasha also wanted to leave the home so that she would no longer have to deal with the home owner, and she had already found another home to live in.” Dmour, the lawyer  continued to explain the situation, “Legally, the tenant, for unknown reasons is not obliged to pay compensation to the owner of the home. However, the the existence of any default made by the tenant makes the tenant responsible for the fire and therefore obliged to pay compensation.”

The solution that the organization ARDD-Legal Aid administered is to interfere by talking to the homeowner into accepting the tenants termination of the lease  and signing a legal document that acknowledges receipt of keys, and other home supplies and states that the homeowner no longer has any demands of Rasha, in order to ensure that there will be no legal prosecution for Rasha in the future. This solution succeeded and the problem has been resolved, after the ARDD-Legal Aid lawyer, Dmour called the homeowner and the police officer and met them at the police station and persuaded them to this solution and ensured that Rasha received a disclaimer which Dmour wrote and formatted.


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